Use our Names and Pronouns Please

Slightly edited from a post I made on Quora:

I at times struggle even with my new sex and presentation. I have bad mornings when I think nobody can hear me, see me, or accept me as a woman. I am starting to go to great lengths to not out myself. It turns out it is hard not to stumble telling your own story and to not have to talk about your past. I struggle with talking about skills that are male oriented like being able to do carpentry, plumbing and electrical work on the house I lived in for twenty five years. it leaves me feeling exposed, but acting like an idiot about subjects I know, sometimes n real depth is a lie.

A friend in our congregation kept using old pronouns, I waited but after two years took him aside and explained that doing so he was outing me to any fresh face that was there.

For me every old name or old pronoun I hear is searing. I may struggle at times with being her and rachel, but that is who I am.

Please spare us the indignity of explaining why we don’t want to tell you our old name. We don’t.

Added now: I’ve chosen to not alter my original birth certificate. One was because it was accurate as written for that time and what they knew of me. They did name me, and to me it dishonors my parents to pretend that my past, and in particular my birth was other than it was.

A second reason is to not make any later genealogist’s life hellish in detangling this stuff. Stories may get handed down to my grandchildren (if any) but are unlikely to make it further. Stories won’t exist in my cousin’s grandchildren – odd Aunt Rachel.

After I’m gone it will be up to my daughter to choose what to remember, what is in her loving heart. I hope she will grow to embrace who I am now, a person who helped raise her and always, always loved her fiercely. I hope she will always remember me in both forms I’ve had in her life and see the thread binding her dad and me together as a seamless continuous person.

When I’m gone it will be up to her to choose whether to put my old name, new name or both if there is a grave and a marker. Perhaps my end will see me as part of the   atmosphere, I can only say with assurance I won’t be there to know. If I do somehow know I won’t judge.

Each of us leaves a legacy, small or large. Let mine me love and kindness.


One thought on “Use our Names and Pronouns Please

  1. The birth records, i understand your point of view. But for me, i get to untangle my own birth records at the state level. As my legal adoption records never left the county and the s state has no records of such. So, do i exist or not. Legally by the state, no, at the county and all other records yes. Then add my new name, gender and all that now it’s so messed up that i cannot even tell people anything in actual truth. Thanks to the times not transferring the info way back when. So this next year that’s my mission for the first few months, clear up who i am in my home state.


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